Norwich 31, Newmarket 5
PUBLISHED: 00:23 16 March 2011
Norwich exacted revenge on an in-form Newmarket team with a scintillating display of free-flowing rugby culminating in one of their most satisfying wins of the season.
The atmosphere at Beeston Hyrne was electric as the club welcomed back many of their former players in the annual reunion in memory of former president Alan Harvey.
The current players responded by giving an impressive account of themselves, running out winners by five tries to one.
Norwich gave a home debut to lock Tom Lloyd, who was outstanding throughout and deservedly collected the man of the match award.
Newmarket sought to pressurise their hosts, deploying the same trundling style of forward orientated rugby that had been so effective earlier in the season, when they won 28-26.
This time Norwich were prepared, having focused on countering the rolling mauls in training. The formidable front row of Aaron Swanborough, Jon Snowling and Tom Whiskin gave their larger opponents a torrid time.
For the first 15 minutes,Norwich found themselves on the back foot but they came into the game more and more, with the dry conditions suiting their open style of rugby.
They took the lead from a five yard scrum, with quick recycling by the Norwich forwards setting up Douggie Greenwood, who was unstoppable as he crashed over from five yards, Rob Micklethwaite successfully converted.
Norwich’s second try came midway through the first half, when their front row took one against the head. Quick hands from the impressive No.8 Ross Adnitt created the space for Josh Ives to run fully 50 metres to score a superb try in the corner. This time the conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
By this point, Norwich were truly in the ascendancy and playing with confidence, buoyed by a vociferous home crowd. The home backs looked dangerous every time they received the ball and Norwich scored their third try of the afternoon when powerhouse winger Jonny Coltman crashed over following another superb Norwich scrum to make it 19-0 at the break.
The second half continued largely in the same vein, with Norwich playing with confidence and the wind at their backs.
With solid first phase possession, Norwich found themselves able to launch attacks at will and eventually the pressure began to tell. Norwich varied their play well, tightening the game up when necessary and allowing their forwards to flex the muscles and assert themselves.
Midway through the second half, Norwich’s Jonny Coltman broke free with a powerful run through the midfield. When he was eventually tackled, a powerful surge from Adnitt maintained the momentum and allowed the ball to be recycled. The move was finished when young Dave Micklethwaite was on hand to burst through from 20 yards to score his first try for the first XV try and secure the bonus point for Norwich.
Finally, fly-half Jonnie Wheater punished some rather slack tackling to go over and score Norwich’s fifth try.
In the closing stages, Newmarket scored a consolation try when their scrum-half nipped in at the corner to open their account. But that took nothing away from an excellent performance from the hosts.